GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) – The sentencing hearing for Frederick murderer Chris Watts began on Monday morning with emotional victims’ impact statements from the surviving members of his family.
That portion of the hearing is dedicated to testimony by those who were adversely impacted by Watts’ actions. Shanann’s father, brother and mother addressed the court, in addition to Chris Watts family.
Shanann’s father addressed Chris Watts several times during his statement to the court.
“You heartless monster,” said Shanann’s father Frank Rzucek.
“I trusted you to take care of them, not kill them,” said Frank Rzucek. “They were loving and caring people. You may have taken their bodies from me but you will never take the love they had for me. They loved us more than you will ever know because you don’t know what love is or you would not have killed them.”
Shanann’s brother also testified, his statement was read by the Weld County DA, “You took away my whole world, the people who mattered to me the most.”
“I have no idea who gave you the right to take their lives,” said Sandra Rzucek. “I want the world to know that our daughter and her children were so loved by us.”
Watts killed his wife, Shanann and their two daughters, Bella and Celeste in August. He pleaded for their safe return, but was arrested days later.
“What must Bella and Celeste have experienced or thought as their father, the one man on this planet, who was supposed to nurture and protect them, was snuffing out their lives?” asked Weld County District Attorney Michael J. Rourke. “They both died of smothering. Let me say that again, the man seated to my right smothered his daughters.”
Investigators found Shanann’s body in a shallow grave on the property of an oil and gas company which Watts worked for before he was arrested. The children’s bodies were found in oil tanks on the same property in Weld County.
On Nov. 6, Watts pleaded guilty to the nine charges he faced, including five counts of first-degree murder. In addition to the murder charges for Shanann and his daughters, he also pleaded guilty to two counts of murdering a child, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.
In court Monday, the Weld County DA continued to detail for the court how Chris Watts methodically disposed of the bodies of his family, making three trips from his home to his truck three different times, one time for each of their bodies, before he disposed of their bodies. How he had texted his co-workers about the site before going there with the remains of his family.
The DA detailed many events that happened after that, including new information that had not been made public. He detailed how Chris Watts remained at the oil tank site while his co-workers showed up for work, how he acted like there was nothing out of the ordinary while the remains of his family were located just feet away. How Chris Watts begged for the return of his family who was reported missing, while knowing they would never return home.
The DA continued on, providing details of how Chris Watts was having an affair during the time leading up to the murders of his daughters and pregnant wife. How while his wife was buying marriage self-help books, Chris Watts was exchanging text messages and pictures with his mistress, searching online for secluded vacation getaways.
Chris Watts also talked to a realtor to discuss selling his home, according to the district attorney.
Prosecutors had agreed not to seek the death penalty in exchange for Watts’ guilty plea, after seeking approval from Shanann Watts’ family. First-degree murder charges in Colorado require a minimum sentence of life without a chance at parole for adults.
Chris Watts’ parents testified at the sentencing through a spokesperson. Chris was visibly shaken as his parents took the podium. His legs were shaking and he pursed his lips as they made a statement.
“This should never have happened,” said the spokesperson. “We appreciate they begged for Chris’ life.”
“They accept that their son has done this, they accept that he chose to plead guilty.”
His lawyers also stated that their client is sincerely sorry for all of this.
Judge Marcelo Kopcow said the most despicable act was the way the bodies were disposed of in this case.
“This is perhaps the most inhumane and vicious crime that I have handled out of the thousands of cases I have seen.”
The judge sentenced Chris Watts to three consecutive life sentences, along with two other life sentences to be carried out concurrently, in addition to 48 years for unlawful termination of pregnancy for the death of the unborn child, and 12 years each for three counts of tampering with a deceased body.
“Prison is too good for you,” Shanann’s father Frank Rzucek had said during his statement to the court. “And it’s hard for me to say but may God have mercy on your soul. I hope you enjoy your new life, it’s nothing like the one you had out here.”